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Has The Speaker of the UK House of Commons Overstepped His Authority?
According to all known laws, traditions and conventions under which the UK House of Commons operates, the Speaker of the House serves as the Sovereign’s representative to the Commons and the Speaker is to remain 100% neutral on all political matters.
This requirement forms part of the job description and includes times when the Speaker isn’t in Parliament, including all hours of the day and night when he or she is anywhere about the country or the world.
It’s a clear instruction set that all present and previous Speakers are obligated to observe at all times during their term(s) as Speaker of the UK House of Commons.
“Speakers must be politically impartial.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
“Once assembled after a General Election, MPs, led by the Father of the House, go to the House of Lords where they receive a message from the Queen (or King) asking them to elect a Speaker.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
“On the day following his or her election, the Speaker-elect goes to the House of Lords to receive the Queen’s (or King’s) approbation from a Royal Commission.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
“The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons Chamber and the holder of this office is an MP who has been elected by other MPs.
“The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times. During debates the Speaker keeps order and calls MPs to speak.
“The Speaker also represents the Commons to the Monarch, the Lords and other authorities and chairs the House of Commons Commission.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
What’s All This, Then?
John Bercow, the presently-serving Speaker of the House of Commons has inserted his opinion, viewpoints, and political leanings into the House of Commons narrative (he’s a confessed ‘Remainer’ — which, admitting even that point is against the rules for the Speaker of the House of Commons) and worse, Mr. Bercow has expounded on his political views to mainstream media and to politicians and negotiators from other countries. Tres gauche!
On ‘Majoritarian Dictatorships’ Led by (the supposedly) Impartial Speaker of the House
Harry Yorke of The Telegraph titled his recent piece: John Bercow accused of running a ‘majoritarian dictatorship’
“A senior Tory MP has accused John Bercow of running a “majoritarian dictatorship” in the House of Commons, as he proposed radical reforms to limit the Speaker’s powers.
Sir Bernard Jenkin, a member of the Commons constitutional affairs committee, has warned that the office of the Speaker has become “irretrievably politicised and radicalised” on Mr Bercow’s watch.
Hitting back at Mr Bercow, who on Thursday appeared to liken Boris Johnson to a bank robber, Sir Bernard claimed that MPs needed to reform the role to limit the Speaker’s “enormous power.”
It comes after the Speaker used a speech in London to launch a personal attack on the Prime Minister, warning that Parliament would step in if he tried to bypass a law on seeking a Brexit extension.” — Harry Yorke
Watch UK Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow as he speaks at the Sixth Annual Bingham Lecture on September 12, 2019 (Begins at 42:00)
The Speaker Asks a Question
“What conceivable moral force do the people’s elected representatives have in seeking to […] disregard a law enacted by Parliament?” (John Bercow, paraphrased)
I hate to break it to the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the House, Mr. John Bercow, but the moral force that he seems in question of is that ‘The Will of The People’ trumps ‘The Will of the House of Commons’ by a significant margin.
In fact, ‘The Will of The People’ trumps Parliamentarians by such a large margin, IMHO, it’s almost as if he’s just arrived from a different universe.
MP’s on either side of the House of Commons are nothing more than the formalized ‘servants of The People’ and the Speaker is nothing more than the formalized ‘servant of the Head of State’ (a.k.a. ‘the Queen’) and whatever dithering goes on in the House of Commons, whatever grandiose verbosity is employed superfluously in the House of Commons, whatever grandstanding goes on in the House of Commons, and whatever arcane debates occur in the House of Commons, ‘The Will of The People’ is far and away more important.
Let me remind him just how badly the UK House of Commons has ‘duffed-up’ the twice-expressed will of the people and the (far less important) will of the House of Commons.
- On June 23, 2016 Britons voted to leave the EU in a legally-held and UK government approved referendum.
- On February 1, 2017 British MP’s voted to follow the instructions of UK voters, voting 498 to 114 to pass the European Union Bill (voting to leave the EU) by a healthy margin of 384 votes.
- On June 8, 2017 the incumbent Conservative Party won a General Election on a pledge to deliver Brexit in an election where all parties ran on a platform of delivering the Brexit that Britons voted for in the 2016 referendum.
- On three separate dates Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement was voted-down by British MP’s and no other deal has replaced it.
- On March 31, 2019 the UK House of Commons failed Britons by failing to deliver Brexit on by the promised date.
- On April 12, 2019 the UK House of Commons again failed Britons by failing to deliver Brexit on that promised date.
- Subsequent to the third failure of Theresa May’s WA and two missed Brexit deadlines the EU ruled that Brexit would be delayed until October 31, 2019. Pathetic!
- On July 23, 2019 former Prime Minister Theresa May lost her position as UK Prime Minister.
- On July 24, 2019 Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the UK with a promise to deliver Brexit.
- On September 3, 2019 British MP’s voted to remove the right of the sitting government to choose policy and to offer legislation to the House of Commons for debate and consideration by the House, and give it to themselves — thereby giving themselves the power over how Brexit is to unfold. Unprecedented! Now the Brexit which they all promised their constituents (to get themselves re-elected in June 2017) cannot happen unless it meets one of their three criteria; 1) Unless the House votes to approve a No Deal Brexit, a No Deal Brexit is now illegal, 2) Brexit may only happen if a new Withdrawal Agreement is agreed prior to October 31, 2019 and the UK House of Commons and the EU Parliament approve it before that date, 3) A new Brexit date is set by the EU.
If they can’t agree a deal with the EU over the past 3-years, what makes them think they can get a deal approved by both countries by January 1, 2020? Hello!
Meanwhile, British Citizens Haven’t Done One Thing Wrong in All of This!
All these years later (1176-days, to be exact) Britons continue to wait for the Brexit they voted for, having done not one thing wrong and in the meantime, all the political meanderings, indecision, recriminations, grandstanding, showboating, one-upmanship and other political games played by British MP’s have cost the UK economy approximately £1 billion per month due to economic uncertainty, in addition to the average £10.5 billion annual net overpayment paid to the EU by UK taxpayers since June 2016 together totals an obscene £69.5 billion.
Heads should roll!
But quite unlike other professions, there’s no accountability.
Politicians talk about accountability and indeed, many MP’s do great work for their constituents and those MP’s are much to be admired!
But there are some to whom life is but a stage on which to hold forth and stroke their own egos, and those are the MP’s who’ve blown Brexit (so far) and are directly responsible for the loss of over £69.5 billion (and counting) since June 2016. To them, it’s all just a game, and those are just numbers on a page. Sickening!
There are real consequences for citizens in all this economic uncertainty which was/is caused by endless political dithering, arcane (and unimportant) political debates, and the ridiculous fixation on ‘getting a deal’ with the EU.
The People didn’t vote for or against a deal, they voted to Brexit.
And there is the fiduciary duty of politicians who run on a platform (to deliver Brexit) in a reasonable timeframe. And 3-years is not upholding their responsibilities to their constituents. Not even close.
What matters is MP’s delivering what they’ve promised in a reasonable timeframe. What matters not is the opinions of MP’s about Brexit nor the Speaker’s political musings.
MP’s need to understand that there’s no one else to blame for the obscene (and still accruing) £69.5 billion cost to the UK economy on account of their Brexit dithering.
MP’s need to understand that EU membership was never legal to begin with as (a previous UK Parliament) gave away (some amount of) sovereignty to a foreign country which clearly contradicts the UK’s constitutional framework and therefore the legal term ‘ab initio’ applies, which means that EU membership for the UK was always contrary to the UK’s constitutional documentation and therefore, the membership was never valid in the first place so MP’s should stop obsessing about how the UK could ‘legally’ leave the EU. (‘ab initio’ = as if it never happened)
According to the UK constitutional framework, the UK couldn’t legally join the EU, therefore, it was never really a member. So, just leave! You weren’t a real member anyway. Stop obsessing!
According to democratic process, leaving aside ‘ab initio’ for a moment — Britons voted for Brexit and British MP’s have a fiduciary duty to their constituents to deliver such service as they’ve been contracted to perform.
According to the economic impact to the country after 3-years of Brexit shenanigans and dithering, the shocking economic losses to the country (which I conservatively calculate at £69.5 billion, so far) should create enough guilt to motivate British MP’s to deliver the Brexit they’ve so often promised.
Remember; A promise is nothing but a lie until the promise is fulfilled.
And those living a lie don’t deserve their seats in the House of Commons and I fervently hope that any MP who worked to frustrate Brexit doesn’t win their seat in the next election, whenever that election may occur. And good riddance to them! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
The People have spoken. Everything else is mere commentary.
- Tories bid to depose Speaker Bercow after Commons revolt (BBC)
- Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down (BBC)
- Hero or villain? Bercow’s notoriety is a consequence of parliament’s crisis – not its cause — (The Guardian)
The EU Refuses to Negotiate Further, so Why Would MP’s Vote for a Brexit Extension?
The European Union Brexit negotiating team said many times in recent months that there’s nothing to negotiate in regards to Brexit and consider the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by former UK Prime Minister Theresa May to be the ultimate Brexit agreement — although it didn’t pass in the UK Parliament and therefore isn’t a valid agreement.
In fact, saying Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement didn’t pass in the UK Parliament is a bit of an understatement as it failed badly each time she presented the bill in the House of Commons.
Here’s what The Guardian wrote about the former PM’s first attempt to get the bill through Parliament: “Theresa May has sustained the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any British prime minister in the democratic era after MPs rejected her Brexit deal by a resounding majority of 230.” — Heather Stewart, writing in The Guardian
In the 2nd attempt to get the bill passed in the House of Commons, the BBC posted this summary on its website: “Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal has been rejected by MPs by an overwhelming majority for a second time, with just 17 days to go to Brexit. MPs voted down the prime minister’s deal by a margin of 149.” — BBC
And in the 3rd try, which was also defeated, the (by-then) hated withdrawal deal went down in flames with the EU’s vox.com writing, “The British Parliament has rejected the Brexit deal for a third time, intensifying the UK’s political chaos just two weeks before the country breaks up with the European Union. Members of Parliament (MPs) defeated the deal, 286 to 344 — a much closer margin than the previous two votes in March and January, but still short of a majority. It has dealt another deep blow to the already flailing authority of Prime Minister Theresa May.” — Jen Kirby at vox.com
And that 58-vote loss was obtained only after Theresa May offered to resign if the bill passed Parliament.
So, the Withdrawal Bill is dead, dead, dead, and won’t be returning no matter how much the EU miss it. And it’s no wonder they miss it, for it was practically written by them, for them.
In short; A completely one-sided deal that never had a chance to pass.
It’s Clear That UK MP’s Wanted Brexit and Wanted a Deal. But What Deal?
UK House of Commons MP’s voted enthusiastically to follow the instructions of UK voters way back in February of 2017 though, voting 498 to 114 to pass the European Union Bill by a healthy margin of 384 votes to get Brexit negotiations underway.
But Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement just didn’t cut it.
Since then, there’s been a lot of chatter in the UK about gaining a new deal, one that might actually work for the UK instead of the European Union alone.
But as EU leaders have said many times, there’s nothing to negotiate. The now-defunct Withdrawal Agreement is the only deal they would’ve considered and they continue to maintain that position.
One wonders if they’re 100% serious about that position as the EU (and especially German car manufacturers) might see falling sales should trade between the UK and the EU revert to WTO terms, and I think that’s what Prime Minister Boris Johnson is banking-on to get them back to the negotiating table to obtain a workable and fair Brexit agreement — one that works for both sides.
Yet, if you know continental Europeans like I know continental Europeans you’d know they always bluff to the last second.
And the EU does have a track record of last-minute deals that were preceded by years of excruciating trade negotiations.
In the case of the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) it took the two countries 8-years of on-again, off-again negotiations to reach a deal — which the Canadian Parliament ratified within weeks, while not one EU27 country has ratified it. Indeed, the EU has chosen to ignore the parts of the CETA deal they don’t like which makes them guilty of ‘cherry-picking’ the (signed and ratified by Canada-only) CETA deal.
Is that the kind of compliance we can expect if the EU were to sign a political agreement with the UK? And is that the kind of compliance the UK can expect if the EU sign a free trade agreement with the UK?
If so, why waste a minute on it?
Boris Johnson Wants a Brexit Deal – But the EU Doesn’t
Who will win that round?
Easy; The EU.
But UK Parliamentarians can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that the EU… doesn’t want a deal.
And of course they’re right because the EU does want a deal — it wants the one-sided Withdrawal Agreement that was ‘negotiated’ during Theresa May’s time in office — and if that doesn’t work it wants the UK to give-up and stay in the EU. Which from their point of view is an even better deal.
If the EU can’t have either of those two choices, it doesn’t want any deal.
But within weeks of a No Deal Brexit, EU27 car manufacturers will have unsold cars piling-up outside their factories and will begin to pressure their governments for a trade deal (by that time a Brexit agreement won’t be needed as Brexit will have already occurred) and such a trade agreement could be in place by January 1, 2020 (about 115-days from now) and a cavalcade of sector-by-sector (or even segment-by-segment) trade deals would be signed and ratified by both countries in short order.
And, in the face of the thrice-failed Withdrawal Agreement, that might be the option the EU27 prefer. I know I prefer it!
So, Knowing All That: What‘s the Point of a Brexit Extension?
The EU said many times that they’re not interested in negotiating any more. They wanted the original Withdrawal Agreement and they didn’t get it, so now they want to bluff until the very last minute in a game of brinkmanship hoping against hope that the UK Parliament or the British people will lose the plot and just give up on Brexit.
There is therefore, nothing to negotiate.
So why are some British MP’s trying to get an extension of the Brexit date?
- Because they think the EU is lying and will negotiate a new Brexit agreement?
- Because they hope to overthrow Brexit altogether by using endless delay tactics?
- Because they were at first, brave and wanted to fulfil the democratic will of Britons, but have since gotten ‘cold feet’?
If they think #1 is correct, I have to say they’re incredibly naive.
If they think #2 is correct, I have to say they’re wrong. More and more Britons (even former Remainers) just want Brexit done, allowing the economic uncertainty to go away.
If they think #3 is correct, I would have to agree. And that means the UK needs a strong and dynamic Prime Minister to help them stay on-course and facilitate a resurgence of confidence in Britain’s future to get them past the present moment.
And guess what? That’s exactly the kind of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is. Thankfully.
What Kind of Brexit Deal do I Favour?
I prefer a No Deal Brexit — but only because I’ve seen close-up how the EU doesn’t keep its end of the bargain in Canada (at least in the CETA context) and I see that only two of the EU27 countries have ever met their NATO spending commitments.
That’s why ‘deals’ with the EU don’t excite me too much as they seem to consider trade ‘deals’ as mere ‘guidance’ more than they consider them ‘regulations’ or ‘laws’ that must be ‘followed’ to the letter.
Calling the EU’s bluff by Brexiting on October 31, 2019 as Britons were promised by this government, followed by a flurry of international trade deals signed between Britain and her other trading partners should put the EU in its place and make it realize that it isn’t the centre of the universe (not even in the UK’s myopic worldview universe) and help to repair the mindset of those Britons for whom the EU seems to have an outsized importance — far beyond what is healthy and good for the United Kingdom.
Not that I wish one bad thing for the EU. I wish every single member country of the EU27 well. In fact, I wish them very well.
Eventually the UK will get around to signing a free trade deal with the EU. After America. After China. After the CPTPP countries. After The Commonwealth of Nations. You know, all the nations that don’t ‘cherry-pick’ their deals.
It’s just that this part of our relationship is over EU, and now, I just want to be ‘friends’.
Hey! We’ll do lunch!
Third Time Unlucky for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement
After the national humiliation of missing the loudly proclaimed and government supported Brexit deadline of March 29, 2019, it’s helpful to carry out some kind of postmortem to, in retrospect, ascertain where failure has occurred.
And there’s no doubt that after flogging her Withdrawal Agreement / Political Declaration / Joint Instrument three times in the space of three months, and failing each time, it must be acknowledged — even by Theresa May, who has become over time, overly married to and overly fond of her contraption of a deal — that her deal is dead, dead, dead.
It’s time to move on, Prime Minister. Your deal died a historic death on January 15, 2019 by 230 votes, then again on March 12, 2019 it died by a margin of 149 votes, and even with you promising to leave politics you lost again by a margin of 58 votes on March 29, 2019 on the day the UK had been scheduled to Leave the EU.
The vote that got the highest level of support… was to get rid of you!
Which should tell you something very profound, Prime Minister.
Three Strikes and You’re Out, at the Old Ball Game!
PM May arranged that she’d write the Withdrawal Agreement almost single-handedly, carry it the entire distance, deliver it herself, and then receive all the credit for Brexit — thereby setting the stage for her to win the next two-or-three general elections. And that was a fine plan, Theresa.
Unfortunately, her deal wasn’t good enough to receive enough votes in Parliament three times in a row, and she now wants to try to ram her deal through the House of Commons for an unprecedented fourth time, which would’ve been beyond the remit of either former Prime Minister Winston Churchill or former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — let alone the comparatively unaccomplished but no doubt well-meaning — present Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May.
I’ll remind you that it took only 2044-days to beat the Nazis in WWII, and that as of today, it’s taken 1010-days to get exactly nowhere on the June 23, 2016 referendum result.
Watch the video below; See the imbroglio that has been created by this Prime Minister’s handling of what was a very clear and simple referendum result in 2016, and decide for yourself whether Theresa May should resign or stay on as UK Prime Minister.